Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Deviled Eggs

Everyone has a family recipe that it would be just sinful to "doctor up." This one, for deviled eggs, was introduced to me by my husband's family, and these babies are always a simple party favorite. I guess sometimes it's better to not mess with something that's simple AND delicious, right? Here goes...


12 eggs
1/2 cup of mayo
2 teaspoons of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of yellow mustard
2/3 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste

Hard boil the eggs by placing them in a pot of cool water -just enough to cover the eggs. Bring the water up to a boil and then pop a top on the pot (try saying that 10 times over) and remove from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cool the eggs under cold running water and gently peel them

Next, scoop out the yolks and set the whites aside for filling. Add all of the remaining ingredients accept the paprika to the yolks and mix well. For a super creamy consistency use a hand mixer to get out any of the lumps.

To fill the little egg white "cups," we load all of the yolk mixture into a zip lock bag with the corner cut off. Gently squeeze the mixture out of the bag's corner to fill the eggs. Garnish with a bit of paprika sprinkled on top, and you are finished. For an elegant presentation, serve with fresh asparagus spears.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pomegranate Martini

Here is a slightly tart Fall treat that will be the star of any event. I served these at a recent charity cocktail party where we raised money in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


1.5 ounces of vodka
2 ounces of pomegranate juice
1 ounce of simple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 or 4 ice cubes

Rim a martini glass with sugar by taking a wedge of either lime or lemon and rubbing it around the edges of the glass. Next dip the glass into an appropriately sized bowl of sugar, and set aside.

Mix all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into your martini glass, and garnish with a lime wedge. If you are unsure of how to make a simple syrup, see this recipe.

If you are serving these at a cocktail party, it is best to make up a big batch of these and store them in a decorative pitcher. This way your guests will have easy access to these delicious libations. Each guest can simply use the shaker to prepare their own cocktail. You could even rim a bunch of glasses ahead of time. Cheers everyone!

Taste the cocktail for appropriate sweetness before serving as not all pomegranate juices are created equal. If it's not sweet enough, add a little more simple syrup. If it seems too sweet, try adding some extra citrus juice.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spinach Lasagna

Oooy! As is so often the case in this household, I, as the cook am watching what we eat. I'm also trying to work out, but that's another story. It is sad what happens to the body when such important physical maintenance tasks go neglected for a bit. After a long summer full of both gregarious and sorrowful occasions (all with plenty of food and drink), I am trying my best to get back into my own health. To complicate matters, my family like many of you out there has been forced to really REALLY cut back on our spending. Over the next few months you will see me attempt to cook only healthful meals that are easy on the budget. You will see me fall of the wagon from time to time, but just know that my heart will be in the right place.

Here is a recipe that makes you feel like you are being bad, but your not. I swear! This rendition of a Spinach and Ham Lasagna takes a little bit of time to make, but if you have a little time to lolly-gag around in the kitchen, its worth it.


6 dried lasagna noodles

10 ounces of frozen spinach

2 cups of fat free milk

1/4 cup onion

1 tsp olive oil

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Start by cooking the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, rinse the noodles with water and set aside.

Next, cook frozen spinach according to the package directions, and then drain off all of the 'juice.' This can be done with a thin kitchen towel or a cheese cloth. Simply dump the thawed spinach into the towel, and squeeze out the juice. The towel will act as a sieve allowing the spinach and the juice to separate without making too much of a mess.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute onion for about 2 minutes in the olive oil. Next, add in the milk and cornstarch cooking for 4 or 5 minutes until a thick sauce forms. Spread 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Stir ham and Italian seasoning into the remaining sauce, and season generously with pepper, and very lightly with salt. Most of the sauces salt flavoring will come from the ham.

Arrange three lasagna noodles in the pan and cover the noodles with 1/3 of the sauce. Layer spinach on top, and then cover with another third of the sauce. Spread cottage cheese, and half of the mozzarella on top as well. Lay the remaining noodles across the dish, and top with the last third of the sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella cheese and all of the parmasean.

Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and slightly browned at the edges and on top. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Note: A very tasty full fat version of this recipe could be made using regular cottage cheese, and whole milk.

I adapted this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens "Big Book of Healthy Family Dinners."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

White Wine and Herb Seafood Pasta

I just watched one of my favorite cooking shows, Jamie at Home. The show, featuring the world’s coolest most laid back chef, Jamie Oliver, is always so breathtakingly inspiring. Today he did an amazing mixed seafood grill featuring shrimp, fresh fish, scallops, and squid. If any food could actually give you an orgasm, this dish would be a strong contender. In honor of the beautiful seafood I saw Jamie prepare, I’d like to share one of my favorite ways to indulge in the bounty of the ocean.

White Wine and Herb Seafood Pasta.


15 basil leaves coarsely chopped

5 springs of oregano chopped

2 sprigs of rosemary chopped

¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley

5 cloves of garlic

1 pound of your favorite pasta

4 tablespoons of butter

4 tablespoons of olive oil

10 oz white wine (nothing too sweet)

1 pound of medium size shrimp

1/2 pound of scallops



½ cup parmesan cheese

Bread crumb topping:

3 slices of bread

2 cloves of garlic – cut in half

2 tablespoon of olive oil



To start, peel and de-vein shrimp and then set aside. Next , cut scallops in half so that they are very close in size to the shrimp, and set aside. Some scallops my not need to be cut.

Boil salted water, and cook pasta according to the directions on the box. To time this dish, drop the pasta into the water right as you begin making the seafood/ sauce.

In a large pot on medium – high heat, combine butter and olive oil, and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes, or until garlic begins to soften. Add in the seafood and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add in wine and chopped herbs, and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, allowing for the alcohol to evaporate from the wine. Season the pot with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Pour seafood mixture over your cooked pasta and toss well. Top with parmesan cheese, and bread crumb topping ( see below).

I hope you love this as much as we do. I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe until now!

Bread Crumb Topping:

Process bread slices in a food processor until a very course crumb is achieved. This happens really fast!

In a frying pan, heat oil, and garlic over low heat for about ten minutes. All you are doing here is getting the garlic to infuse into the oil. After 10 minutes, discard the garlic and heat oil over medium heat. Add in your bread crumbs, and stir often as the oil begins to toast the crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the breadcrumbs until they are a deep brown color. For the best flavor and texture, you must bravely walk the line between this deep brown color, and almost burnt. Scary, but you can do it…just don’t walk away from the stove!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Shopping For the Winter

I went to the Farmers Market this weekend in Forest Hill Park. As I flitted about the market buying a little of this, and a lot of that, I had big things on my mind. Why not buy much more food than I actually need, and save some for the winter? Farmers do this all the time...They grow what they need for the whole year, not just for the growing season. It's fabulous really. Why eat frozen vegetables bought from the grocer when you can have frozen veggies from one of your local purveyors? That means less mileage on your food, and over all less energy spent trying to feed your family. Sure cans are easier, but just think of all the people 100 years ago who would have died to have such a colorful array of vegetables right at their fingertips. A couple hours of work, and they are yours for the rest of the year. As I know nothing about canning, I will be trying to freeze some things this week. Check out this website for more info on how to process your fresh foods.
Here are two of my favorite veggie recipes: